The recipe starts out like all good magic tricks do, very simply. A silky chocolate cake batter is poured into a pan, then a concoction of brown sugar and cocoa powder. What comes out of the oven looks like a perfectly baked chocolate cake, but there’s a hot, bubbly, molten layer of chocolate fudge underneath. —Grant Melton
cocoa powder, divided
butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pan
Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter an 8x8 squash baking pan or 9-inch cake pan and set aside.
Place flour, sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl and whisk. Using an electric mixer, beat in the butter and milk and mix until smooth and lump-free. Pour the batter into the buttered pan and place onto a cookie sheet, just in case the batter bubbles over a bit. Set aside.
In a small bowl, using a fork, mix together the remaining 1/4 cup of cocoa powder and the brown sugar. Sprinkle the mixture over top of the cake batter in a flat even layer. Pour the hot water over top and immediately place into the oven.
Bake for 30 minutes. The cake should still be jiggly but dry and shiny on top and bubbly around the edges. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool for just a few minutes. Scoop the warm mixture into bowl and top with a scoop of ice cream.
Grant Melton is an Emmy Award-Winning Producer of the Rachael Ray Show, food writer and recipe developer. He's a contributor to Food52, NYT Cooking and Rachael Ray Every Day Magazine. He loves cookies, cocktails and kindness.